So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20).
This subject is a very sensitive one in which everybody is guilty in one way or the other. How many of us do obey the above bible passage to the letter? When others are talking, do we listen at all? When it is time to speak, do we rush to speak or speak from a thoughtful mind? Are we always in haste to return fire for fire or an eye for an eye? These and many other instances are what we are all guilty of.
Using myself as an example, I’m not easily enraged but I’m fast to speak. When somebody has done me wrong and such wrong has come to my realization, I usually fire from all directions, making sure that the person see his or her wrongdoing, though I’m not necessarily angry. But this is very wrong; I shouldn’t have verbally attacked my offender immediately.
The right disposition was for me to exercise patience and calm down for a while, allowing a wave of reflection to sweep across the mind of that person. After that, I can now approach that person, to press for the discontent I have against his or her action. At this point, I should also allow that person to do much of the talking; else, the person may feel intimidated and may not even concede to my inquisition.
One benefit of this level of rapport is that, my offender would no longer be on the ‘offensive’ but rather ‘defensive.’ This is very good for me in that, I would be able to gather a lot about what must have prodded such an action. And by so doing, I’ve won because the reality is unfolded and every abstract summation is no longer valid.
What about being swift to listen? We’ve got some jaw-breaking scriptural admonitions in Proverbs which I will be quoting:
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
“Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them.”
“Whoever guard his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from trouble.”
“Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise, when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
One of the fundamental skills of communication is basically the act of ‘listening.’ How often do we listen to comprehend what we are being fed? Listening is equivalent to learning. When listening is going on, the mind is able to assimilate and process information, coming in form of codes to ascertain the reality of such algorithm. A non-listening mind may not be able to decode or decipher the messages thereof. Such inattentive person will eventually be asking unnecessary, unrealistic and irrelevant questions, bringing a draw back in communication.
In another context, if you are a good listener, you will be able to ask good questions. Good questions are asked to confirm or reaffirm the kernel of any premise, supposition or proposition, so as not to be confused. However, loquacious elements may not be that composed to pick every nuance of such communications. No wonder Proverbs 18:2 says, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his opinion.” Moreover, “fools speak because they have to say something but wise men speaks because they have something to say.”
How about being slow to anger? Very few of us know that unnecessary anger, restlessness, could induce a cardiac arrest. When one is angry, the heart is being forced to pump blood at a very high pressure rate, triggering the adrenaline hormone and causing some discomfort to the circulatory system of the body. If such situation persists and care is not taken, the host body may breakdown. And to make it worst, anybody with history of cardio-related problems or high blood pressure is really looking for trouble, when such a person willingly engages in skirmishes.
Anger is a very potent tool of the devil to destroy the life of man. Each time man is angry there is tendency to destroy things unimaginable. Anger can ruin one’s life if caution is thrown to the wind. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1. However, we can be angry sometimes, but not to the extent that the sun will go down on it.
Obviously, the biggest culprit in all of these is the fiery tongue of man. The tongue is a powerful tool of man that can make or mar one’s fate, either physically or spiritually. Guarding or bridling our tongue is such a necessity, required to getting away from unnecessary trouble, chaos, hatred and restlessness.
An angry man or woman is completely lost from reality. Such a person is usually enmeshed in pride and hatred, which could cause grave consequences if unabated. Anger is a spirit. When one is angry, you are completely lost to that spirit world and until you are brought back, you may probably or possibly destroy your own life, the life of your loved ones, and your supposed enemy.
Having self-control is very essential. It gives room for the use of one’s discretion to access or assess a would-be crisis, before reacting. Let’s take this life one by one and co-exist as one big family, created by God.
Paitor Odun is an advocate of good news and a praise and worship leader.
As a kid, he was an active member of a children group involved in the spread of the gospel. He attempts to bring back that zeal through this platform. Feedback—email@example.com